Wednesday, November 7, 2012

God Is In Control...

In the weeks leading up to the election and the hours since President Obama was named the winner I've seen quite a few posts on Facebook expressing the sentiment "No Matter Who Wins, God Is Still In Control," or "Whoever Is President, Jesus Is King."

Four more years

 And while I agree with the explicit truth that God is always in control, I think that, as expressed, these slogans are dangerously close to over simplification. They seem to imply a "Don't Worry, Be Happy," state of mind. Yes, God is in control, but that does not absolve the people of God from our responsibility. To use another one of those oft-quoted slogans, "Remember, with great power comes great responsibility."

I think what concerns me about this whole thing is that it belies an "Oh, well, what can you do?" kind of attitude. Or, maybe worse, it implies that everything's going to be dandy. Yes, we know that ultimately it will be better than dandy as we spend eternity in the presence of God. But between now and then a whole lot of un-dandy can happen.

While I'm pulling out the slogans, here's another, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." God has always been in control, but that didn't keep the ancient Israelites from captivity, it didn't stop Rome from falling, didn't keep Hitler from coming to power or the World Trade Center towers from falling.

Yes, God is now, has ever been and will always be in control. And yet at the same time He has blessed us with the double-edged sword of free will. On top of that we've been charged with the responsibility to bind (or forbid) and loose (or allow) things here on earth (see Matthew 16:19 and 18:18). Now whether it's from a reluctance of being perceived as judgmental or politically incorrect I'm not sure, but the influence of the people of God on the American culture sure seems to have waned since the latter part of the last century.

Please don't misunderstand, I believe America is still a great country, one of the freest on earth, though not nearly as free now as we once were. And I think we still have the capacity to bounce back, for the economy to improve and the divisiveness to be healed. But it won't come easy and it's not guaranteed.

No matter your political leanings, who you voted for or whether you voted at all, if you're a citizen of the Kingdom of God there is work to do. Pray. Pray for our president and other government officials and our nation. Get involved. Let your voice be heard. Hey, run for office if you're so inclined. Complain. Yeah, complain. If you voted you earned that right. But do it in a constructive manner. Write letters or emails to your elected officials when you're concerned about an issue. It's more than our civic duty, it's our spiritual responsibility to help shape the culture so that others may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hot Weather Motorcycling

We're in a for a wicked hot weekend in the greater ATL.  Highs are expected to be around 106 degrees on Saturday, the day of our Wounded Warriors ride in conjunction with Crossroads FAITH Riders, Meineke Car Center of Peachtree City and Great South Harley-Davidson in Newnan.  Details on the ride are here.

With temperatures that high the temptation for some riders is to leave the jacket at home and wear a short-sleeved shirt.  Some may even consider short pants.  But by exposing that much skin you're actually going to feel WARMER than if you're actively subscribing to ATGATT (all the gear all the time).

The Magic Number Is 93
That would be 93 degrees (if I was making this up it would have been 93.3).  At temperatures below 93 degrees your body has no problem staying cool while riding, provided you're going fast enough to generate a breeze.  When it's hotter than 93 degrees the wind actually makes exposed skin WARMER.  Yeah, I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but stick with me.

Your body has four methods of staying cool; evaporation, radiation, conduction and convection.  At temperatures above 93 degrees evaporation (which your body accomplishes by perspiring) becomes the only working method of cooling.  That's because 93 degrees is about the average skin temperature.  So at heat levels above 93 degrees the air is actually transferring heat to any exposed skin on your body, rather than taking heat away from you.  So to minimize the effect of hot air making you hotter, cover up.

Heat Related Health Hazards
The hot weather can not only cause you to feel uncomfortable, it can also cause health problems and, at worse, death.  Cramping in the legs or abdomen is one of your body's earliest signals that it's beginning to dehydrate.  Make sure to drink plenty of water prior to a ride in the heat.  (Stay away from alcohol, caffeine and drinks with high sugar content, these will actually contribute to dehydration.)

If you ignore the cramps the next level of danger is heat exhaustion.  People suffering from heat exhaustion will sweat profusely, experience headache, nausea and dizziness.  After heat exhaustion comes heatstroke, sometimes referred to as sunstroke.  This one will kill you if not treated promptly. Symptoms of heatstroke include rapid heartbeat and breathing, confusion and fainting.  We don't want that.  So be sure to dress appropriately and drink enough water before and during your ride.  

Wounded Warriors Ride
If you're a rider, I hope you'll consider joining us tomorrow (Saturday 6/30/12) for the Wounded Warriors Ride.  Registration begins at 8:00 AM with KSU (that would be "kick stands up" not Kennesaw State University) at 9:30 AM.  We probably won't beat the heat, but we'll get a head start on it.  And the first 50 people to say "I'm a Joy Rider" at registration will get one of the nifty commemorative T-Shirts pictured below.  Hope to see you.

Here's the back of the T-Shirt

And this would be the front, stylish, eh?


Thursday, May 31, 2012

The End Of The Road

The image of the road conjures up a vast variety of thoughts and emotions.  The Bible uses the road as both metaphor and setting for some key lessons.  There's the road to Jericho where the parable of the Good Samaritan takes place.  Saul of Tarsus met Jesus on the road to Damascus and had both his name and life changed.  Cleopas and another anonymous disciple of Jesus were on the road to Emmaus when they were joined by a stranger shortly after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.  The stranger was later revealed to be Jesus himself.

There's often a sense of excitement when we set off on the road.  Even when we're sure of where we're headed there can be some uncertainty about what might happen along the way.  There could be disaster and redemption, such as was the case of the traveler set upon by bandits and rescued by the Good Samaritan.  Or like Saul/Paul an unexpected encounter could lead us to take an entirely different path.  And there are those trips who's true significance is realized only once the journey is over, like that walk Cleopas and his friend took to Emmaus.

Sometimes the road itself proves as much fun as the destination.  Ask anyone who rides a motorcycle.

And when the road ends we we're faced with a choice.  Turn around or blaze our own trail.  How you handle that one depends on who's map you're following.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sometimes It Seems Like It Never Ends

My wife Teri and I spent a good deal of the Memorial Day weekend doing yard work.  My son Caleb helped me get a few trees out of the yard.  They'd fallen over the course of the past few weeks.  Then Teri and I cleaned up some of the smaller branches, cut the grass, blew off the driveway.  Teri even found time to plant some flowers. Coming home from work yesterday I was able to smile at how nice the yard was finally looking.

Then just after 3 o'clock this morning I heard that ominous "fooommp" from somewhere outside.  Almost instantaneously the power went out.  I grabbed a flashlight and walked the yard.  A large Georgia Pine had fallen across the street, knocking out the power to the entire neighborhood.  The power company was there within the hour, and nearly six hours later they'd restored the power.  And now I have at least another weekend's worth of work waiting for me in the front yard.

Add caption

Blue Light Special

No, this is not about your run-of-the-mill cut-rate department store five cents off a pack of 24 white tube socks blue light special.  This is about the magic elixir that is less than 60 seconds away when the blue light on the Keurig coffee maker is lit.  Now that IS something special.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monster Beetle

I've been in Georgia for nearly 14 years now. The size of the insects here still amazes me, as does their boldness. This beetle sat perfectly sill as I moved closer and closer to get this photo.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Impatients At Night

The long, dry, hot Memorial Day weekend provided a wonderful opportunity for a little yard work. We took the chainsaw to a few trees that had fallen in the yard. Cut the grass, trimmed some bushes. My wife Teri planted impatients, bringing a little added color to the yard.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mobile Nest

My youngest grandson, TJ, has a birthday coming up next week. He's asked for a new scooter. When his dad reminded him that he already has a scooter, TJ replied, "But a bird made a best in the basket and there are eggs in it."
"As soon as the birds hatch and learn to fly then you can ride it again," his dad told him.
So now the waiting and the watching begin.

Friday, May 25, 2012

One More Reason

Getting ready for the long Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of summer.  Many of us will be on the road this weekend, despite the cost of gasoline.  One of the many reasons I enjoy riding a motorcycle is the gas mileage my bike gets.  I filled up this morning on my in to The JOY FM.  Today's National Photography Month photo is of the final read out of the pump.  Yes, only 3.622 gallons to fill up (my tank holds 4.1 gallons).  On that 3.622 gallons I managed to travel 200.2 miles.  That works out to 55.27 miles per gallon!  That 's actually the best gas mileage I've managed in awhile, normally I come in between 52 and 53 mpg.

There is one other calculation I've done, and it's slightly more sobering.  It's the miles per dollar (or mp$) number.  This one will vary much more than mpg, since gas prices fluctuate so much.  My 200.2 miles on 3.622 gallons at $3.479 per gallon works out to 15.888 miles per dollar.  Of course if you did these calculations on your car's mileage numbers they'd be even smaller.  Let's say your auto gets a respectable 30 mpg.  That same 200.2 miles would have used up 6.673 gallons of gas in your car.  At a cost of $3.479 per gallon you would paid $23.22 for that stop at the pump.  You would be getting 8.62 mp$ (miles per dollar).  Kind of makes you want to look into getting a motorcycle, doesn't it?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pig Mania

My dad found this game around 30 years ago. It's so goofy that it's a blast. We've never played a game without going into hysterics.

The original Pig Mania, comes with a complete "history" of pig tossing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Old Friends

I was looking through old photographs last night, searching for a couple of specific shots.  I didn't find either one, but I did come across quite a few that made me smile.  The one I've posted here (for today's National Photography Month entry) was taken somewhere between 1989 and 1994.  That was back before digital photography, so there's no metadata, no file on a hard drive to help me narrow the date range.  Metadata back then was added AFTER you got your pictures back from the lab and wrote on the back of the photo.  I was not very good at remembering to add metadata.

Because I rarely took the time to document those old photographs, sometimes I have trouble remembering who all the people in the picture are.  That is the case in this photo.  I have no idea of the name of the guy on the far left.  Working left to right, the next person is me.  Then guitarist extraordinaire Phil Keaggy.  And finally, Dave Cruse, currently of The Morning Cruise on The JOY FM.

Back when that photo was taken Dave was, I believe, still at a station in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  I was working at a station on Long Island, New York.  We were in my hotel room in Nashville, TN, during Gospel Music Association (GMA) Week.  Back then I'd do my morning show from the room, featuring artist interviews all week.  So that means that the un-named individual was probably someone who worked for Phil's record company.  Dave was there because somewhere along the line of seeing each other year after year at these GMA events we'd become friends.  Dave wasn't doing his show from Nashville that year, so he came and hung out with me.  We've both, Dave and I, changed some during those intervening years, especially our hairlines.  But we've remained friends and we're finally getting a chance to work together, though it's long distance, at The JOY FM.

Left to right: Can't remember his name, me, Phil Keaggy, Dave Cruse

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Emergency Cache

I have never really known want.  Sure, there have been times that have been more prosperous than others.  And I have occasionally had to go without certain near essentials.  But I've never actually worried about where my next meal was coming from.  So my habit of stashing away foodstuffs is somewhat of a mystery to me.  Maybe it's something that rubbed off on me from having both of my parents being raised during the Great Depression.  Or perhaps the story of Joseph and his famine fighting grain storage plan had a bigger impact on me than I realize.

No matter the origin, there have been times when I've stockpiled various snack foods.  Today's photo was inspired by that habit and by a photo Matt Fields, The Morning Cruise producer, posted of one of his desk drawers.  Here's my photo for the day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ready For The Rain

Since I started riding a motorcycle five years ago I've become much more aware of the weather.  And I've learned that you can't always trust those "chance of rain" percentages.  I've ridden when there was a 20% chance of rain and gotten soaked and taken the car when the forecast called for a 90% chance of rain and not seen a drop all day.

So most days, unless it's actually raining or below freezing when it's time to leave the house, I'll ride the motorcycle.  But I am always prepared for any change in the weather.  Take today.  Got up this morning, checked the forecast.  Around a 30% chance of rain.  Then just after 3 PM thunder and lightning rolled in.  Then the showers.  I was ready for them.  There's always a rain cover for the bike and rain gear (pants, jacket and boot covers) for me in the saddlebags.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sweet Summer Slumber

I know, summer doesn't officially begin for another month. But with the weather already warm I'm looking forward to some lazy afternoons in the hammock.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Work In Progress

My garage has become a motorcycle shop. My son Caleb is tweaking his bike. He's already painted it. Now he's adding a sound system and modifying the seat.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Just Up The Street

Back in 1844 a local resident bought a plot of land, Lot #16 in Fayette County, Georgia.  The next year he buried his infant daughter there.  Through the years the family laid the remains of loved ones in this little family cemetery.  It still stands, 168 years later.  The area around it has changed during that time.  A residential sub-division, offices, restaurants, a theater and the JOY FM studios now surround this lonely patch of ground.  Its markers and benches tucked into the shade provide an opportunity to pause and reflect on what once was.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lookin' Up

Every once in awhile I feel the need to take an aimless stroll.  Just to clear some of the cranial cobwebs.  On today's walk about I was once again amazed at the simple beauty of the sky.  Light blue with mountains of white fluffy clouds.  It provided a nice change of pace from the photos of the last two days.  Hope you enjoy the view as much as I did.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Time Is Relative

Remember when we were kids and the summers seemed to last forever?  Seems the older we get the faster time flies by.  Maybe it something to do with what Peter talks about in 2 Peter 3:8; "With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day."  Maybe our perception of eternity has something to do with it.  Of course, none of that really addresses the issue of time in the Prevenings studio.  Within 60 seconds I took photos of five of the clocks we have in there, no two displaying the same time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Social Media Overload

Here's the thing.  I'm not much of a "joiner".  But when I do get into something new, I tend to go all in.  So when I got my first Android powered smart phone last fall I really got into downloading apps.  Particularly social media apps.  So now I'm on social networks that no one else I know has even heard of yet, like Diaspora and Path.  Think I'm going to have to scale it back a bit.  It's gotten so bad that I had to download a new app just to be able to squeeze in a shot of most (not even all!) of my social networks on my TWO monitors!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Snowballs In May

It had been a wet weekend.  Too much rain to do much outdoors for Mothers Day.  But as I walked to my car this morning I got a glimpse of some of the fruit of all that rain.  Our "snowball" bush has a number of large flowers.  Makes the dampness a little easier to deal with.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rain, Rain...

The weekend held such promise.  Two days.  Two wheels.  Open roads.  Then the rain came.  And stayed.  All weekend.  The bike stayed parked in the shelter of the garage.  Maybe next weekend will be drier.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Bad Sign

Just as I'd passed the last gas station on my way home, the low fuel light popped on.  So much for saving time and mileage.  I'll have to allow a little extra time, and go a little out of my way on the next trip.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Saving Seats

Empty chairs.  They can imply a number of things.  Traditionally a chair and place setting are left empty at a Passover Seder for Elijah.  There's a certain amount of anticipation associated with an empty chair.  There's the expectation of a soon-to-arrive guest.  Hope can also be attached to a seat without a sitter, such as those chairs at a restaurant, set out in hopeful expectancy at the prospect of yet to be seen hungry patrons.

Sometimes that empty chair is a reminder of a loved one no longer present.  It's set out and left unoccupied to honor the time and memory of someone we hope to yet again see, if not in this life, then in the next.

An empty chair can also be an invitation to sit awhile, chat with friends, neighbors, loved ones.  Or simply take a load off and enjoy the view.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Class Clown For Life

You might think that the people who wind up on the radio were very extroverted as kids, that many of the class clowns from your school days are now doing yuck-yuck radio shows.  That is not the case.  Many (if not most) of us were not the extremely out going types or jokesters in school.  It takes someone who is pretty content on their own to spend four or more hours a day cooped up in a little room talking to people that they can't see. 

Radio does have its share of those class clown types of people, but they're normally not the type who end up on the air. Those folks end up in sales or underwriting or more behind the scenes areas of programming, like producers.

Two cases in point are pictured below in today's National Photography Month entry.  Ken, who's part of The JOY FM underwriting team, and Matt, who's the producer for the Morning Cruise.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

If Barnabas Collins Had A Smart Phone

I remember rushing home from school in the late 1960s to watch "Dark Shadows".  The Gothic soap opera surrounding the Collins clan and vampire Barnabas Collins.  The new movie based on the show opens this Friday with Johnny Depp in the role of Barnabas.

I was wondering what it would look like if Barnabas had a smart phone and took a picture of himself standing in front of a mirror.  Here's my impression of how such a photo would turn out.

Barnabas Collins self portrait.  (Vampires cast no image in a mirror.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What Is That?

I went for a little stroll around the building at lunchtime today.  I saw a car pull over and a woman get out, holding what looked like a cell phone at arms length as she walked towards a stand of trees.  She'd glance from the phone into the trees as she walked.  She was soon joined by another woman, the driver of the car.  Both women ventured into the fringes of the trees, examining the ground, then the sky, then the ground again.  After about two minutes they walked back to the car and drove off.  I have no idea what they were looking at or for, but they provided me with an interesting distraction for a brief moment.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mesmerizing March

Perspective can determine how you think or feel about things.  Take ants.  On a picnic they're nothing but pests.  But if you simply stop to watch them as they scurry, in a most orderly fashion, they can be down right mesmerizing.  I spotted these ants outside my office, marching along in near perfect formation.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Little Thunder

Thunder, lightening & rain tonight. This combination renders Casey, our big Lab-something mix, incapable of rational thought, as far as dogs are capable of rational thought. He parks himself directly in front of your feet or in the middle of a household high traffic area until the storm passes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Can't See The (Super) Moon For The Trees

I've been waiting for the super moon all day.  Once it showed up it hid behind the trees in my back woods for hours.  Below is the best shot I was able to get of it (so far).
EDIT: I went back out and got a slightly clearer shot.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Poor House Bread

I know I may be treading on thin ice here, posting a picture of food on only the four day of National Photography Month, but I have (what I think is) a good reason.  I had lunch today at Maguire's Irish Pub in Senoia.  I've been in Senoia hundreds of times, but this was my first time at Maguire's.  Lunch was with Shannon Steele, Matt Fields and Jayar (all of the JOY FM).  I ordered the Boxty, something I've never had before.

Boxty, or Poor House Bread at Maguire's in Senoia
Boxty is a potato pancake wrapped around meat and cheese.  It was delicious.  And it seems simple enough that I think I may be adding it to my household menu repertoire.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Moving Towards Decay

There's a law or theorem in physics that states something to the effect of everything is moving towards decay.  Of course, that's my paraphrase.  That would explain why screws never work themselves tighter and why the Christmas tree lights always end up tangled, even though you know you put them away neatly last year.

This third photo of mine for National Photography Month is another example of that principle.

Rob Langer struggles against physics.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Morning Reflection

There's something special about the early morning.  Sitting on my back porch, I spend time with the Lord, praying about and reflecting on the day to come.  The only sounds the robins and redbirds.  The sun from the east warms the breeze that passes through the pines and pin oaks as I prepare for another day.

View from my back porch.  National Photography Month, Day 2.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

100th Episode + National Photog Month

May 1, 2012.  Today is the 100th episode of Prevenings with Jerry & Shannon on The JOY FM.  Hard to believe we've been at this since December 1, 2011.  Only five months.  Yet it feels both like forever ago and just yesterday that we began.

It's also the beginning of National Photography Month.  So Shannon and I have committed to (a)take and post a photograph every day and (b)blog more regularly.  It's been far too long since I've posted here.

The view from outside the Prevenings studios at The JOY FM ATL
So here's the first photo and blog post.  Hopefully I'll be able to maintain both more regularly from here out.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Travelling Through Time or Happy New Year

It's been an eventful 12 months for all of us.  Those of us at The JOY FM (Atlanta branch especially) know that full well.

We began the year as J93.3.  Sheila and Mike were on the air in the morning, followed by Jayar, Steve Swanson and Paige Long.  Rob Langer did weekends and I was doing the occasional  fill in.  In early February Mike accepted a position at another radio station and Sheila and I were paired for the third time in our careers in the morning.

In March the radio station was sold by Provident Broadcasting (a wholly owned subsidiary of Watkins Associated Industries) to Radio Training Network (RTN), a not-for-profit company that has stations in Florida (The JOY FM network), the Carolinas (The His Radio network), Georgia, Alabama,  and Missouri.  The founder of Watkins Associated Industries was pivotal in the start up of Radio Training Network and J93.3 (WVFJ) had a long relationship with the network.  Now being owned by RTN made J93.3 a not-for-profit station.  That meant the station could accept donations and use volunteers, something that previously we were not able to do. Beginning in May the license for J93.3 was converted from commercial to non-commercial which changes some of what we're able to say in announcements thanking business community partners for their support.  It also opens up a number of opportunities for us to expand the coverage of the station's signal.

The Long Good-Bye
By June of 2011 Sheila Richards was feeling much worse.  For those of you new to this blog and/or The JOY FM, Sheila had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer several years ago.  She had actually beaten it twice before, having undergone surgery, chemo and radiation and being declared cancer free, only to have it recur.  Her treatments had continued through 2011, which meant that she was not on the air with me several days a week while she underwent chemo.  In June the effort it took to get up and into the studio by 5:30 AM was more than she could manage on many days.  So she came in a little late, if at all. Friday, July 1 was her last day on the air, though we didn't know it at the time.
Sheila Richards on her last morning show.
Shortly after the Fourth of July weekend Sheila went into the hospital.  She was suffering from complications of the disease and its treatment, including blood clots in her legs and almost unbearable pain.  From the hospital she entered a convalescence center and then hospice.  She passed early on the morning of August 30, just four days after her 55th birthday.

JOY Comes To The ATL
I held down the morning show slot solo, with occasional help from Kelsey (who also happens to be my daughter) through Thanksgiving.
Kelsey in one of her many roles
On December 1, 2011 J93.3 made the change to The JOY FM.  Besides a new name (though through much of the 1980s and 1990s WVFJ had used the same name, before opting for J93.3) several additions and changes to the on air staff were put into place.  The Morning Cruise, based at the home office of The JOY FM network in Florida, became our new morning show.
Bill Martin, Carmen Brown, Dave Cruse of The Morning Cruise
We said good-bye to Steve Swanson (who continues his work with RTN as station manager of another station in Georgia) and hello to Shannon Steele who joins me in hosting Prevenings weekdays from 3 till 7 PM.  Jayar still holds down the 10 AM till 3 PM slot, and Paige Long is still on the air in the evenings.  Rob Langer is joined by David Stein on weekends.  And my daughter Kelsey is still filling a variety of roles.
Prevenings with Jerry Williams & Shannon Steele
2012 And Beyond
No one can be sure of exactly what lies ahead, except for our ultimate destination.  What we do know is that God has great things in store for the family of The JOY FM.  And the family includes not just the staff but also our financial partners, both individual and business community partners, and listeners.  We're excited about the future and pray that you'll consider becoming more involved with what God is doing through this ministry.  It's so much more than simply playing great, encouraging music on the radio.  Though that is a huge part of it.  Through the combined efforts of listeners,businesses and staffers who support this ministry with their finances, prayer and time, God is touching and changing lives.  We hope you'll be a part of it in 2012.  Happy New Year.